New senior coach Dan Lowther saw something in Georgie Rankin that not even she knew she had.
“I found it really bizarre when he first said it because I didn’t realise I had that element to me,” explains Rankin.
Lowther noticed that the normally kind, friendly and smiling Rankin was also fiercely determined, competitive and uncompromising.
The new coach is encouraging Rankin to embrace that side of her personality.
“I’m very much a perfectionist and I don’t like being beaten, so I think it probably just came from that.
“I want to get it right every time, which is not realistic, but I have that drive to do that, therefore if I’m coming up against someone I’m not going to let you beat me because I don’t enjoy that feeling.
“I’m going to compete with whoever I’m with and I think it’s something he picked up that I hadn’t even realised was there, but it’s something he’s definitely continued to drive in me.”
Rankin, who comes from a basketball background, has enjoyed a steady rise across her time at Geelong since joining the program in its inaugural year, 2019.
The former Queenslander, who played two games in her first season, now finds herself regularly in the team’s best 21, playing in eight of a possible nine games in 2021.
With more experience under her belt, Rankin’s confidence continues to grow.
“I was very new to footy and was finding my feet.
“Now I’m starting to feel more established amongst the group and amongst the program and he (Lowther) has given me the confidence to be proud of that and to hold that competitive nature.”
Having a competitive edge has been a theme across the pre-season for the whole squad, a shift being driven by Lowther.
“He just talks about having a bit of an edge.
“As a group, we’re into our fourth year, we’ve matured a bit more and we are ready for that harder edge.
“When he challenges you, you know it’s not personal, you know it’s because of the greater good of the whole group.
“We’re all on the same page with our standards, we want to have someone hold us to account for what we’re putting in place, but I do think it’s also come with experience and maturing over four years now.”
Rankin explains this was particularly evident at last weekend’s pre-season camp in Lorne.
“Going into that values session at camp, we got through it so quickly because everyone knew exactly what our expectations are for the season ahead.
“We know where we expect people’s performance and professionalism and commitment to the program to be at.”
Though Rankin’s competitive side is shining on the field, her softer, more personable side is also thriving.
The 23-year-old is regularly mentioned by her fellow teammates as someone they can turn to for leadership and advice.
“I’m really passionate about people growing and developing themselves as not just sportspeople, but as individuals.
“I just know how important it is to surround yourself with good people, so it’s very humbling and touching to know that they (my teammates) do feel that way, but I just want them to have good people around them, so if I can bring that energy then that’s important to me.”
Earlier this year Rankin was recognised for bringing that good energy to Geelong when she was a nominee for the Jim Stynes Community Leadership Award.
Despite growing up on the Gold Coast, Rankin feels that she has found her place in Geelong.
“Geelong’s home and it feels like a family.
“I care a lot about the places that I go and the people that I interact with.
“A lot of things I just do because I love it and I care about it, so to be recognised is a weird concept, but it’s purely because the community of Geelong is really important to me and the club itself.
“I can’t see myself leaving here because it’s such a big part of who I am now and my life’s here, so I love it.”